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Thisarticle just provides an overview of the law in this area. You should talk to our Disputes Team for a complete understanding of how it may affect your particular circumstances.
Charles Abraham, Head of Disputeshighlights the potential risks and benefits for businesses of allowing employees to use their own personal mobile devices.
What is bring your own device (BYOD)?
Many employees now own personal mobile devices (such as tablets, smartphones, laptops or notebook computers) that can be used for business purposes. Businesses are receiving an increasing number of requests to allow employees to use these devices at work.
BYOD can bring a number of benefits to businesses, including:
The boom in BYOD has been matched with an upsurge in activity by criminals trying to exploit the data and intellectual property stored on personal mobile devices. The use of personal mobile devices for business purposes increases the risk of damage to a business's:
Ownership of the device
Personal mobile devices are owned, maintained and supported by the user, rather than the business. This means that a business will have significantly less control over the device than it would normally have over a traditional corporately owned and provided device.
Securing data stored on the device
A business is responsible for protecting company data stored on personal mobile devices. Businesses should consider implementing security measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful access to the business's systems or company data, for example:
The business should ensure that its employees understand what type of data can be stored on a personal device and which type of data cannot.
Mobile Device Management
Mobile Device Management software allows a business to remotely manage and configure many aspects of personal mobile devices. Typical features include:
Monitoring use of the device
If a business wants to monitor employees' use of personal mobile devices, it must:
The business must ensure that monitoring technology remains proportionate and not excessive, especially during periods of personal use (for example, evenings and weekends).
Loss or theft of the device
The biggest cause of data loss is still the physical loss of a personal mobile device (for example, through theft or by being left on public transport).
BYOD arrangements generally involve the transfer of data between the personal mobile device and the business' systems. This process can present risks, especially where it involves a large volume of sensitive information. Transferring the data via an encrypted channel offers the maximum protection.
Employees should be encouraged to avoid using public cloud-based sharing which have not been fully assessed. Businesses should consider providing guidance to employees on how to assess the security of wi-fi networks (such as those in hotels or cafes).
A business needs to think about how it will manage data held on an employee's personal mobile device should the employee leave the business.
If you have any queries in relation to this post, please contact our Head of Disputes, Charles Abraham on 0113 201 0405.
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